What is it about?

In this article we address important ambiguities and misunderstandings associated with terminology commonly used to describe sampling in qualitative research. We share several definitive understandings of sampling-related issues, informed by a rigorous analysis of the methods literature.

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Why is it important?

A continued lack of clarity in the language qualitative researchers use to describe what they do (their methods) erodes the real and perceived quality of qualitative research. More definitive understandings of language to describe sampling will help to advance rigorous qualitative research.


The arguments presented in this article were based on a recently characterized literature review type: the systematic methods overview. We believe this kind of review can play an important role both for focusing our attention on other underdeveloped research methods topics besides sampling, and as a source of solutions to the many other methodological ambiguities that can be found in both qualitative and quantitative research.

Stephen Gentles
McMaster University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Calling for a Shared Understanding of Sampling Terminology in Qualitative Research, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, August 2017, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/1609406917725678.
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